Eulogy For My Grandfather

My grandfather, Derek, passed away this past Friday. He was born in 1939 to Joseph and Enid, on 55 Willowbrook Road…somewhere in England. As his father died in WWII when he was a toddler, he was raised by his mother and four sisters who he always said were the most feisty, brave, strong women he’d ever met. To keep him out of trouble and to make sure he was a well-educated boy, his mom sent him miles away to The Bluecoat School. From there, he joined the Army Training School and eventually, Warrant Officer for the Cheshire Regt. His time in the military brought great heartache, but it also brought amazing experiences, as he was able to travel the world. At one point, he met fellow military-men who knew his father, who saluted him, & told him how proud his father would be of the man he became.

The day he decided he should settle down, he flipped a coin – heads he’d move to the US with his sister Pat, or Australia with his sister, Rosemary. If he hadn’t flipped heads, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have him in my life. He got a job at P&H Mining, met my grandmother in a bar, and took on the father figure role to her young daughter, my mother. Although the three of them often butted heads and had their share of personal struggles, they loved each other deeply.

When I came into the picture, we took to each other fairly quickly – two peas in a pod, sharing similar interests. He was called by many names, but to me, he was my Papa. I looked to him as a father because he treated be with more love, compassion, and respect that my own father could provide. He knew this, and took me under his wing. We’d take trips to the library, Barnes & Noble, or Borders, marveling at copies of the greats that we hoped to have in our collection. He too, loved Harry Potter and drove around the city to find all of the books to surprise me with.

We’d sneak ice cream before dinner, and then pretend we didn’t have any, so we’d get dessert afterwards. He’d sneak me $10 bills to save for a rainy day. We read the Sunday paper as we ate our breakfast in the dining room – he read the sports and headlines, as I read the comics. As I got older, we would fight over the sections. We’d both catch each other cheating at Monopoly, snicker, and create our own Monopoly game.

I’d enjoy our long car rides, as he blared conservative talk radio, the seatbelt alarm going off, because he refused to wear one, as it cut into his large belly. We’d go on an adventure to various grocery stores to buy grandma her beloved rice pudding and he was extremely patient, as he taught me how to drive despite my anxiety.

He was the first man that didn’t treat me differently because I was a girl. He taught me how to use tools, how to build, how to maintain a home, how to hunt, how to play golf, how to mix a drink. He bought my books for college and supported my dream as an author. He’d donn a devilish grin as he shared memories of his life – like how he was friends with the Beatles before they were famous (when they played in local pubs) or the mischief he got into as a kid.

He used to scare me as a little girl, his booming voice, his large build, how the air of the room demanded respect when he walked in…but the fear slowly faded as I got to know him more. He was soft as a marshmallow on the inside. He cared deeply about his friends and family and would move the world for grandma and I. We shared each other’s company immensely and I’m saddened I don’t get to share my life with him anymore. I’ll miss the days where I’ll reach for the phone, hoping to call to tell him about the latest article I wrote or a new author I think he’d like. I’m also deeply saddened to know that my son won’t get to know him like I did, just through my own stories I’ll share with him.

With Papa in mind, I’ll introduce my son to the authors we both enjoyed, like Rudyard Kipling. I’ll think of Papa when I write a political post for work and I’ll be reminded of him when I pass the candy store where he ate all the free samples & the owners had to shoo us out.

His last words to me were, “Take care of grandma” and even that shows what kind of man he was. He always put others before him. While I didn’t have the opportunity to hear all his stories or learn more about him, I feel extremely blessed to have had him in my life and while I am wrecked by his passing, it’s exactly that…passing. This world is temporary and I’m almost a little jealous he gets to set his eyes upon Jesus before me. I can’t wait to join him, and all my other loved ones, in worshiping and rejoicing in eternity, where pain and suffering is replaced with peace and joy.


40+ Must-Have Apps for Christian Bloggers

I’ve spent a lot of time downloading and deleting apps that didn’t work for me and my lifestyle. I don’t want you to waste as much time as me, so I’m going to share my favorite apps. Granted, not all of them are for blogging and God, but that’s okay. Here are all of the apps currently on my phone (aside from the ones predownloaded).

  1. Facebook. I hate this social site and I know I just made an entire post about deleting it, but I found that it’s really hard to be a journalist without it.
  2. Facebook Messenger
  3. Instagram. My favorite social site.
  4. Twitter
  5. Pinterest
  6. Gmail
  7. CrowdRise. This is the app I’m using to track the donations for my running 200 miles for charity.
  8. Vanido. I just downloaded this, an app to practice singing.
  9. Felt Cards. Guys, you have to check this one out! Cheap, good quality cards to send to loved ones? Yes please.
  10. Etsy
  11. Instagram Layout
  12. ColorStory. Both this and #13 I use to minimally edit my photos before they go on social media.
  13. Afterlight
  14. Podcasts
  15. iMovie
  16. YouTube
  17. Hurdlr. As a freelancer, I needed a free app that lets me keep track of income and expenses.
  18. Google Drive
  19. Werdsmith. If inspiration strikes, I open this app up and type to my hearts content.
  20. WordPress. I’m using this right now!
  21. Canva. How I make all graphics for my blog, including my logo!
  22. Ibotta. I’ve gotten $25 back by using this app for grocery shopping in the past year. Here’s my referral link if your interested in this free grocery app.
  23. Goodreads. Keeping track of all the books I read.
  24. Walmart. If you shop at Walmart, you scan your receipts, right?
  25. Pokémon Go. My husband’s guilty pleasure. I catch the cute ones.
  26. Pandora. What I listen to when I write.
  27. LeapSecond. Once second videos every day is so cool!
  28. Rules of Survival. I’m not a big game person, but this surprisingly was enjoyable. Honestly, I’ll probably delete it soon.
  29. NBC. When I miss This Is Us, this is how I catch up.
  30. Netflix
  31. Spectrum. Just another way I watch tv
  32. Sworkit Stretching. A great stretching app I use before my workouts.
  33. Fitbit
  34. Nike Run Club
  35. Calm. My favorite relaxation app, but with a hefty price tag.
  36. P Tracker
  37. Happy Scale. A weight app that notices fluctuations in your weight and possible reasons why.
  38. Fooducate. Scan your food & it rates it, giving insight to what those mispronounced ingredients really are.
  39. Yoga Studio. I got lucky on this one. Years ago I bought this for a few dollars and now, you have to pay a monthly membership. But I got grandfathered in.
  40. Holy Bible
  41. MissionHub. This is an interesting one! Keeps tracks of names of friends and such to encourage you to reach out and fellowship/evangelize.
  42. Perspective Cards. A great, easy way to teach Christianity to people. We used it a lot in Cru.
  43. God Tools. Another Cru tool with info about Christianity.

I’d love to hear your app recommendations!

I’m Afraid to Have Baby #2 After Anxiety & PPD

January 2016 was the month I found out I was pregnant with my first child. It was also the month that spun me into a tangled mess of crippling anxiety.

The pregnancy got pretty intense early on. I started feeling that morning sickness – all day. Weeks turned into months and I only could stomach instant oatmeal. I’m serious. I’d lay on the couch and watch videos about whales because I was too nauseous to move and even watching Joey make tomato sauce on Friends made me want to hurl. My husband ate a few tortilla chips one night and while I didn’t even see him, the crunching sound sent me into heaving over the living room couch. I dropped from around 190 to 160 by the first week of April.

I started to feel better, slowly, at least better enough where I was confident I wouldn’t throw up because of the overwhelming smell of an elderly woman’s perfume. Finally getting out of the house, I went to Walmart with husband, who had taken all grocery responsibilities since January. I made it through the entire trip, and then as we were checking out, I started to feel sweaty and sick.

I had a light blue jacket on because it was too cold without one, but too hot in Walmart since the furnaces didn’t kick off yet. That and the fact that I had lost so much weight in an unhealthy way, I was overheated and malnourished. I told hubby that I was going to sit down and wait for him because I felt dizzy. As I started to walk towards the Subway located within the store, my heart started racing. I could hear it in my ears, the pounding. With sweat sliding off my forehead, something was wrong with my vision, blackness started to creep in. Panic flooded me because I knew I was going to hit the floor, but I didn’t want to hurt myself. I mustered all of my strength and quickly found a seat in Subway. I knew people were staring, I’m sure I looked like a drug addict or something, but I didn’t care. My vision was still blurry and my ears were ringing. I couldn’t even get my mind to think about anything specific. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk.

Slowly, light came back to my eyes. Hubby was done checking out and found me, grasping my shoulder, asking me if I was okay. I couldn’t hear him. He sat down and my ear ringing subsided. I was able to take a deep breath and after a few minutes, we went home and I called the nurses line – who told me to eat more protein.

From then, I made sure to have food in my purse at all times. Cereal, cooked spaghetti in a sandwich baggy, chips, juice, etc.

But the damage was done and anxiety became the friend I didn’t invite to the party. With my health and my allergies, my anxiety used those weaknesses to scare me. I was in charge of this life. I was never afraid of death, even then, I wasn’t scared. I was scared of doing something that would kill the life inside of me. Every morsel of food I put in my mouth, I had to make sure it was safe. I called every food company to ask about their cross contamination. I would eat and read the ingredient list over and over. I limited my food to just what I knew was safe. I denied most cravings unless it was clear it was nut free.

I didn’t see the anxiety then, but I do now. I also didn’t see the postpartum depression, which I now know comes in many forms.

The anxiety about food disappeared the day I gave birth, but new feelings emerged. I couldn’t sleep. My newborn was a darling and hardly cried the first few days, and yet I was wide awake, heart racing and jumping at every sound. Everyone was a threat in my mind, when they’d walk in. I’d hear phantom cries and even when I begged for silence to sleep, even that kept me awake. I sobbed as my husband took care of baby for hours while I tried to rest, but laid awake.

This exhaustion didn’t help how disconnected I felt from my son. He was a stranger. I felt numb towards him. He was cute and yeah, I knew I loved him. But in my exhausted state, I remember staring at him, thinking “Would I miss you if you died?”. Though he was quiet, I thought that maybe by taking him back to the hospital and giving him to the nurses, I’d be able to sleep. Deep down I knew it was not the baby’s problem, so I pushed forward.

I prepared myself for the long nights, for the diaper changes, for the showerless weeks. I was ready to ask for help when I was desperate for it. I did not know about how horrible breastfeeding was – the swollen pain, the latch, the tongue tie, cluster feeding. I did not know that asking for help is complicated. Your friends and family can’t help you when your struggling internally.

My baby was easy to care for. Though he didn’t sleep, even as he got older, he hardly cried. He was easily soothed by milk and cuddles. Our home was clean. My husband was attentive and helped with all physical things except breastfeeding.

I feel like crying as I try to express what I was going through. It’s impossible to explain, but easy to relive. It took a long time for me to feel better – for the love of my son to blossom, and I didn’t get a decent night sleep for at least a year. Baby had started to sleep through the night around 11 months, but my mind couldn’t reach a deep sleep until well after that.

Just when I start to feel like my normal self, and gained back the weight I lost, my doctor asks me if I am considering trying again during my annual examination.

To relive what I went through, the thought scares me into tears. If I consider adoption or foster care, similar fear comes to mind. The first time, I went in blind. We got pregnant because of a biological urge and with little clue with what the future held, that was what we faced – or what I faced. Now that I’ve gone through it, why would I want to put myself through it again? I was blessed with one beautiful child. Do I really need more?

I’m Running 200 Miles For Charity

I hate running, so why in the world am I running 200 miles? Even if it is for charity?

Quite a few months ago, I started to feel the urge to run. I had never enjoyed running before, though I wasn’t keen on working out in the first place, I wouldn’t be caught dead running. This new urge I was feeling, the urge to run, was confusing, to say the least.

I had a gut feeling it was time for me to start running. I felt, in my bones, that I’d enjoy it and that it was something my body and mind needed. I’d been through a lot of various levels of stress over the year and hadn’t had a proper outlet to get those worries off my chest. I could close my eyes and picture myself running my problems away (at least, the stress of the problems).

So, I made it one of my resolutions. To run. And in the Midwest, starting in January, I started running. At my own pace. Not running for anyone or anything except myself. And I surprisingly enjoyed it, despite the blistery cold weather. I chose my favorite charity to run a 5k for in early May, but I didn’t feel I could be ready for a 5k in time.

I decided to do my own charity run, for the same charity, The Love>Hate Project. Starting March 12th, I’d be running a mile a day until October. I know to some, that might seem like such an easy, silly goal…but for me (and for many other non-runners), that’s a huge goal.

I’m doing this for my friend Buck, the father who lost his daughter to a brutal murder, who made national headlines when he forgave his daughters killer AND started a charity on her behalf, hoping to end male on female violence.

I debated choosing another charity closer to my heart, a local women’s shelter, but decided that I didn’t want to take away from donations from other shelters. I ask you to look into your local shelter and volunteer your time or donate needed items such as clothes, food, and feminine products.

The biggest reason for my run is to raise awareness for The Love>Hate Project. While raising money would be awesome, in my world of blogging and social media, word of mouth can be of equal importance.

I’d love you to stay update on this journey of mine. I’ll be sharing photos, complaints, and possible weight loss here, so be sure to subscribe. If you want to donate to my cause, you can click here. If you’d like to know more about The Love>Hate Project, click here.

If you want to help, but aren’t financially able, you can do one of three things.

  • Cheer me on! I need the motivation.
  • Run 200 miles with me! Even if you are across the globe, you can still participate.
  • Share this post! Re-blog it, tag me in one of your Instagram posts (@samantha_sali), share this photo, send this post via email to your grandma…help me get the word out!

Why I Deleted Facebook (and Why You Should Too)

I’ve been a Facebook addict ever since 2009, when my mom made an account and & I had to make one as well, because as a teenager, I couldn’t possibly have my mother be cooler than me.

Fast-forward to 2018 and Facebook is the sole contributor to my raising blood pressure.

Continue reading “Why I Deleted Facebook (and Why You Should Too)”

8 Ways To Making Your Home Eco-Friendly

While I don’t think I could ever reduce my plastic use to zero or stop using my harmful Dove shampoo, I still feel it’s important to do what we can for the environment. For some of my friends, this means growing a plant in the bathroom and using its leaves for toilet paper (not kidding). Or, if you’re like me, you’ll make small changes like these…

Continue reading “8 Ways To Making Your Home Eco-Friendly”